Xenophon Oeconomicus

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Gender Studies, Human Sexuality
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50/50? Marriage, Gender, and Reciprocity in Xenophon’s Oeconomicus

Agenda 

Art, Concluded 

Sexual Values, a Democratic Transformation?

Xenophon’s Oeconomicus  

Introduction Sequestration of the Sexes 

Sex and the Married Woman 

Actuality or Social Fiction?

Do/How do eros and Marriage Mix?

(Un)equal Partnership? 


Marriage and Gender Roles in Oeconomicus

Xenophon's Oeconomicus


Art, Concluded Sexual Values, a Democratic Transformation?

Inside of Attic Red Figure drinking cup (kylix): man/woman sexual congress. (Man says, “Keep quiet!” or “Keep still!”)

hē numphē kalē, “The bride is beautiful.”

Timodēmos kalos, “Timodemos is handsome.”

Attic Red Figure alabastron

Cantarella, Eva. Bisexuality in the Ancient World. Trans. Cormac O'Cuilleanain. 2 ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002. Print. Dover, K. J. Greek Homosexuality. 2 ed. Cambridge, Mass., 1989. Hubbard, Thomas K. “Popular Perceptions of Elite Homosexuality in Classical Athens.” Arion 6 (1998): 48–78. [Reconsideration of Dover, Foucault, Halperin.] Sutton, Robert F. “Pornography and Persuasion on Attic Pottery.” Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome. Ed. Amy Richlin. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. 3– 35.

Xenophon’s Oeconomicus Introduction

Text/Author Facts 

Xenophon the Athenian 

ca. 430 to ca. 349 BCE

Oeconomicus Socratic dialogue  themes 

kalokagathia  enkrateia  oikonomia  kosmos 


For Xenophon, Ps-Demosthenes: Foucault, Michel. “Part Three. Economics.” Trans. Robert Hurley. The History of Sexuality. Volume 2: The Use of Pleasure. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978. 141–84. Print.

Xenophon's Oeconomicus


Sequestration of the Sexes Actuality or Social Fiction?

“I pointed out to her also the situation of the apartment for the females, separated from that of the men by a door fastened with a bolt, that nothing improper may be taken out, and that the servants may not have children without our knowledge...” (Oeconomicus p. 109)

Greek House: Abdera, Thrace (300s BCE)




Nevett, Lisa C. House and Society in the Ancient Greek World. New studies in Archaeology. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.


Greek House (oikia), Olynthus, 4th cent. BCE (reconstruction)

Sex and the Married Woman Do/How do eros and Marriage Mix?

Two Quotes… “We [Athenian men] have prostitutes for the sake of pleasure, concubines for meeting our bodily needs day-to-day, but wives for having legitimate children” (Against Neaera p. 191)

“Seeing her … painted over … that she might appear still fairer than she really was…, ‘Tell me,’ said I, ‘…should I seem, as an intimate associate, more worthy of your love, if … I should take care … that it be healthy and strong, … or if … I should paint myself with vermilion…?’ ”* (Oec. p. 112)

* Larger context has to do with sharing of bodies, i.e., to sex. 2013-10-09

Xenophon's Oeconomicus


(Un)equal Partnership? Marriage and Gender Roles in Oeconomicus

Quotes “ ‘… is there any one to whom you intrust a greater number of important affairs than to your wife?’ … ‘And is there any one with whom you hold fewer discussions…?’ ” (Socrates to Critobulus, p. 84)

“ ‘The law, too, … gives its approbation …; and as the divinity has made them partners … in their offspring, so the law ordains them to be sharers (koinonoi) in household affairs’ ” (Ischomachus, p. 100)


Is there an ideology (Butler would call it a “script”) of partnership or parity in Ischomachus’ house? Of inequality?  Speech acts validating same?

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